Evans Opts For Fiji Over City-Coun­try

Told of­fi­cials he will by­pass the Tam­worth fix­ture to stay in Syd­ney next week to run out for Fiji against PNG

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The whole ex­pe­ri­ence and the camp – the boys I do it with – they make it. Petero [Civon­iceva] said it was the best camp he’s been on and the best bunch of boys ... that was big com­ing from him. I felt in my heart it was best to play for Fiji.

Kane Evans Roost­ers prop

The lure of play­ing in next year’s World Cup could trig­ger some fringe rep­re­sen­ta­tive play­ers to shun the City- Coun­try clash, in­stead opt­ing to rep­re­sent an is­land na­tion in the Pa­cific Test match dou­ble-header. Roost­ers prop Kane Evans, who pulled on a City jumper for the first time last year un­der coach Brad Fit­tler, will lead the charge and has al­ready told of­fi­cials he will by­pass the Tam­worth fix­ture to stay in Syd­ney next week to run out for Fiji against Pa­pua New Guinea at Pirtek Sta­dium. But he po­ten­tially won’t be the only player who fea­tured in last year’s an­nual State of Ori­gin trial who will make them­selves un­avail­able for se­lec­tion in 2016. Pen­rith pair Waqa Blake and Rea­gan Camp­bell-Gil­lard also played in the Wagga clash 12 months ago, but are mulling whether to pref­er­ence Fiji over earn­ing an­other spot in the City squad. The de­ci­sions could pro­vide a mi­nor boost for in­ter­na­tional rugby league, which has been ques­tioned in re­cent weeks as a host of high-pro­file play­ers, headed by de­fec­tor Semi Radradra, make them­selves un­avail­able for the smaller na­tions.

Happy Evans

But Evans is one who is happy to tread a dif­fer­ent path – for now. “The whole ex­pe­ri­ence and the camp – the boys I do it with – they make it,” Evans said of his im­pend­ing Fiji call-up. “It’s not just about footy, it’s about God as well. That’s a big thing for me.

“Petero [Civon­iceva] said it was the best camp he’s been on and the best bunch of boys ... that was big com­ing from him. I felt in my heart it was best to play for Fiji.”

Blake is yet to make his in­ter­na­tional de­but, but has an eye on pulling on the Fiji jumper for the first time with a sprin­kling of fam­ily back home and his par­ents based in Perth. “I haven’t played for my coun­try yet and if it comes it comes,” he said. “But at the mo­ment I’m just try­ing to con­cen­trate on be­ing con­sis­tent ev­ery week.” Fiji coach Mick Pot­ter will be keep­ing a keen eye on the Roost­ers’ clash with the Knights at Al­lianz Sta­dium given Evans’ team­mate Eloni Vu­nakece is vy­ing for se­lec­tion along­side New­cas­tle’s Saifiti twins, Ja­cob and Daniel.

On Radradra’s de­ci­sion to pledge his al­le­giance to Aus­tralia, Evans said: “It’s a good op­por­tu­nity for him to make some good coin and it’s funny as there as so many good backs for the Fi­jian team ... qual­ity backs that won’t even get a run. “If you look at the last World Cup Semi Radradra was com­ing off the bench as a sec­ond-rower be­cause we had so many wingers and cen­tres that are go­ing so well in the NRL. “It’s good for him and will give some­one else an op­por­tu­nity, but there are so many other backs that can play for Fiji.”

Kane Evans.

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